Meta Quest 2: New interface will be a 3D Windows - report
The Quest 2 is not yet suitable as a computer replacement. But a greatly improved interface coming in the future could change that.
If virtual reality is to become a new computer platform and suitable for the masses, VR headsets will have to evolve beyond pure gaming consoles or fitness machines. They must become work devices that can do everything that is expected of a modern computer.
The Quest 2 still has a long way to go in this respect. It offers basic features like an Internet browser, simple multitasking, and access to numerous 2D apps. But it needs many improvements to become a full-fledged virtual office, even if you disregard VR-specific interfaces like hand tracking, speech recognition, and neural interfaces.
Meta needs to improve the Quest 2's usability if it's going to be any good as a computer one day. Meta's next VR headset, Project Cambria (info), should be the next step in that direction: an AR-ready general-purpose device that's more powerful, versatile, and more suitable for everyday use than the mobile VR gaming console.
Major interface update in development
Until now, it was enough to have more than three windows available and to be able to seamlessly jump between 2D apps. The dominant operating systems Windows and macOS show the way.
According to XR leaker Brad Lynch, Meta is working on a major interface update for Quest 2 and Cambria that should improve the user experience and bring it closer to that of more established computing platforms. Lynch's descriptions are vague, but give an idea of what Meta is aiming for.
According to him, the entire home and dashboard framework will be redesigned. Nothing will change visually, but the new interface will be broken down into independent systems that are highly optimized. Three new features would stand out.
More app flexibility
First, it will be possible to anchor three windows at each teleportation point of the home environment. Quest users can teleport back and forth in their home environment since update 37.0.
The second new feature is an interface called Suspense API, which pauses the active 2D or VR app when you open and use another one. This could allow for quick switching between different VR apps. So far, Quest 2 can only keep one VR app open at a time.
A "big" update will come to the Quest. It won't be the next update or v41
The entire Home/dashboard framework will be rebuilt. There will be no visual differences but it will be heavily optimized and be separated into many independent systems.
3 main noticeable features 1/4
- Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) April 22, 2022
The third new feature lets developers integrate the Dashboard or Home window into their VR apps. Lynch does not explain the purpose of this interface, called Windows API. It should probably allow quick access to important system functions from the VR app and switching between open programs.
Lynch does not specify when the update will be released. He only says that it will not be part of the next update or the one after that.